Monday, June 30, 2008

Tina’s Wild Life!

Many of you know that California has been experiencing a drought. Which is, of course, difficult not just for the human dwellers, but the grass, the trees--and of course, the wild animals.

We live on a mountainside, and our sightings over the years have included squirrels, coyotes, possums, skunks, deer, raccoons and roosters. Rattlesnake and mountain lion warnings are often posted in late summer--but I am pleased to say no one in my family has personally come across one.

With the drought, it’s only natural for the animals to become more aggressive, and I admit I leave a water bowl out for “friends” who pass through our backyard, which I regularly freshen.

But when a sewer dwelling mama raccoon discovered our open cat door, and started bringing her three young-ins inside for nocturnal feasts, we had to take action. Locking locking the cat door when we went to bed, we found out, only encouraged them to show up earlier, and let me just tell you that it’s darned freaky to look up from your taco salad and lock eyes with a family of raccoons.

I researched raccoon deterrents and laughed out loud when I read the one thing that would keep them away: the scent of human urine. I told my sons to outside the kitchen door and have a field day!

Last night, I was drifting off to sleep when I heard rustling in the bamboo plant outside our window. I didn’t think much of it...a cat or squirrel or something...until the stench hit. POW. Skunk spray!

At first I thought it was coming in the a/c vents, but my husband--who then realized he’d left the sprinkler running on the bamboo plant--told me that older houses like ours simply aren’t air tight. And now here was the real rub. What to do while gagging? Turn off the a/c and open the windows? But the fresh air was skunk air! Go to a hotel? (Kidding.) So we spent the entire night sleeping with pillows over our faces, and woke to more pungent Eau Du Skunk, which I feared would hang endlessly in the air--as well as on our skin, hair and clothing. Don't they say the stench is hard to lose? (However, the PS here is I finally DID get the house aired out. We are once again skunk scent free.)

And that time, I didn’t need my friend Google. I’m sure the skunk was drawn to the running sprinkler (where he met up with a cat or raccoon or something that alarmed him). Believe me when I say we won’t run it overnight again. And meanwhile, I’ll just keep hoping for rain...

How about you? Mice in the attic? Bats in the belfry? Possums in the pantry? Share your stories!


Tina Ferraro
How to Hook a Hottie - Book Sense Top Teen Pick
Top Ten Uses for an Unworn Prom Dress - Finalist, National Reader’s Choice Award

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Summer Hottie Poll

All the posts about movies this weeks got me thinking about all the actors starring in those movies. There is some fine boy-flesh appearing on the silver screen this summer.

But which actor is the hottest of them all?

With so many to choose from I just couldn't decide. I mean, how do you compare Will Smith and James McAvoy or Christian Bale and Brendan Fraser? It makes girl's mind melt. So I've left it to you, Buzz Readers. Rock the vote because inquiring minds (me!) want to know.


Saturday, June 28, 2008

Summer Blockbusters!

One of the great things about summer time is the onslaught of big-budget, highly-touted summer blockbuster movies. I love going to the theatre and diving into a bigger than life epic on the screen to take me out of my world and into another experience.

There are so many movies this summer that have that amazing eye candy appeal. Lots of explosions, cute guys, dark situations, comedy, old favorites, new name it, it's all out there.

So far, I've seen SEX AND THE CITY and INDIANA JONES AND THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULLS. I've got so many moves on me "to be seen" list, it's not even funny. I'm on deadline for my second GHOST HUNTRESS book, so I need to be selective as to which movies I spend time watching. (Also, the theatre is a great escape from the summer heat as they're all air conditioned!)

I thought SEX AND THE CITY was really well done and stayed pretty true to the series. I loved the movie when I was in the moment (cried through most of it) and loved how it showcased New York. However, I have to admit that it "ruined" some of the characters for me and I prefer to think of the ending of the series as that final moment when everyone was happy and had what she wanted. I don't want to spoil anything if you haven't seen it -- it made a freakin' fortune, so you can rest assured there will be another one.

INDIANA JONES was...well, it was what it was. It tried hard to immitate the original installations, but at times, it was just over-the-top. It was good, however, to see Harrison Ford suit up again as Indy and take to the screen. They did a good job working Shia LaBeouf into the movie and I can almost predict a new franchise of movies for him.

In addition to the movies I've already seen, I thought I'd toss up a list of blockbusters that are sure to draw in audiences and make a mint for their producers:

Iron Man

Speed Racer

The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian

The Strangers

Kung Fu Panda

You Don't Mess with the Zohan

The Incredible Hulk

The Happening

Get Smart

The Love Guru




The Dark Knight

Journey to the Center of the Earth

Mamma Mia!

The X Files

Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2

Star Wars: The Clone Wars

Who has time to see all of these?! LOL!! So, what have you seen? What did you think of it? What are you planning on seeing? What is it about the movie that draws you in? Let us know what you think?

Happy Saturday!
Marley = )

SORORITY 101: Zeta or Omega? (Available Now! Puffin Books)
SORORITY 101: The New Sisters (Available Now! Puffin Books)
GHOST HUNTRESS SERIES (Coming May 2009, Houghton Mifflin)

Friday, June 27, 2008

I can't wait for this movie!

Sorry for the seriously late post. I kind of forgot it was Friday. I know, pretty pathetic, right? It's just that my hubby's days off always seem like the weekend, even when they fall in the middle of the week, so I kind of thought it was Tuesday until about twenty minutes ago!

Anyhoo, I wanted to share my excitement about an upcoming movie release. I saw the first ad for this movie a few months ago and I have been dying to see it ever since. Finally, July 18 is almost here and I can finally go see MAMMA MIA!

If for some insane reason you haven't heard of this movie, I'll give you a brief synopsis. It's the story of a bride-to-be trying to find her real father told using music by ABBA. As if that isn't enough, the three possible dads are Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth, and Stellan Skarsgard. Her mom, who won't give up the baby daddy 411, is none other than Meryl Strep. Oh, yeah, and it's all filmed in Greece. Could this all add up to a more perfect movie?

Is there a movie that you are looking forward to this summer? And have any of you seen Mamma Mia on Broadway?



Thursday, June 26, 2008

The WINNER of Dona's SHRINK TO FIT giveaway is....


I will email you at to get your address and will send you a copy as soon as my author ones reach me!

Thanks for playing everyone!!!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

GIveaway! Plus, what in the world is Dona reading?

My humblest apologies for being absent for so long has been taking over my life! The good news is that things are starting to calm down a bit and I can get back to two things I love MOST in the world...reading and writing.

I am working on an adult novel titled WALLS OF JAIPUR which is a Hindu-Muslim love story set in the 1950s as well as modern day.

I am having a BLAST writing it and can't wait to show more....

I am also reading a ton again. First up, I read the sequel to my of my favorite YA novels, The Luxe. The most recent addition to the series is called RUMORS and it's a great, fun read. The twist at the end will REALLY shock you...I know it shocked me!
What great covers, huh? Does anyone know if that's Penelope or Diana on the RUMORS cover?

Either way, I CANNOT wait till ENVY the third book comes out next February!

I am also reading Emily Giffin's LOVE THE ONE YOU'RE WITH. Emily's second novel SOMETHING BLUE was one of my favorite novels of all time and I am totally engrossed in LOVE, a story young woman who is contemplating "the road not taken" after her marriage. I love Emily's stories because they're about real life after real many books focus on finding "the one" but what happens after that? Can't wait to finish this one!

I am anxiously awaiting BREAKING DAWN, the fourth (and LAST!) of the TWILIGHT series. These books have been criticized for a variety of reasons, but I don't care...I love reading them and I Edward Cullen and cannot wait for the movie! (pre-teen like squeal here)

And last but not least, I am super-excited for my August 1st release SHRINK TO FIT. If you want to be entered to win a copy of SHRINK (as soon as I get my author copies!) please leave a comment and tell me which book you're enjoying (or looking forward to!)
Dona Sarkar-Mishra
SHRINK TO FIT - August 2008 from Kimani Tru

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Summer Fashion... Help!

With all this talk of summer, I have to ask a vital question... what the heck do you wear to a summer wedding?

This Buzz girl is invited, along with a cute boy, to her cousin's summer wedding. Here's the quandry: It's a summer *afternoon* wedding and yet it's at a freaking castle. My brother, an usher, will be in a kilt for goodness sake! So this is straddling the line between informal and over-the-top formality. Did I mention it's at a castle?

So, I've read many different things on wedding guest advice sites... like don't wear black to an afternoon wedding. Don't wear white or red dresses. Wear a nice business casual outfit with a flowery pastel skirt. And none of this helps -- I mean, ugh! I so don't do flowery pastel anything. Wait -- except for my fun cowgirl dress from Urban Outfitters which is admittedly too casual for a wedding.

See I desperately need Buzz Blog reader help! What's your favorite dress-up outfit for summer events? And to really inform me -- list your favorite:

A) Afternoon wedding at a freaking castle outfit
B) Summer barbecue outfit
C) Summer chic night on the town outfit

Also, what have you heard NOT to do as far as wedding outfits? I don't want to be a fashion don't.

And OMG, I almost forgot -- what do I do about the bouquet toss if I'm there with a cute date? Yikes! Help!!! That is almost an even bigger problem then the dress... *sigh*

This Buzz Girl awaits your sage replies...



Heather Davis is the author of
Never Cry Werewolf
Coming in April 2009 from HarperTeen

Monday, June 23, 2008

Wait--I’m a Grown-Up?

My daughter recently graduated from high school. The last month was a whirlwind of banquets, award ceremonies and social events, culminating in the whole senior class going to Disneyland for an all-nighter.

After the dust had settled, she and I took an evening walk and talked about the next few months...including how I’d been called for Jury Duty. I lightly added how she could get called now, too. And then suddenly, in a crosswalk, we looked at each other with the same startling thought: OMG, in the eyes of the law--of society--she’s a grown-up.

A watershed moment. No longer a child, a dependent, a minor.

And I touched back on a similar scenario from my life. I had just turned 18 and was reading a newspaper article when an “18 year-old woman” was mentioned. And I remember wondering it didn’t say “18 year-old girl.” Until I realized because 18 was an adult. Gah! Which meant that possible...

Anyway, I know some teenagers feel ready to take on the full gambit of adult responsibilities at an early age, and then there’s some of us who sort of wait until the grown-up thing happens to us. Either way, we continue on our life’s journey, trying to find our niches and hopefully making the right decisions and the most of opportunities.

How about you? Did you ever have a moment, at any age, when you suddenly stopped in your tracks and realized that things had changed, or at least, people’s perception of you had changed?

And by the way, Congrats to the Class of ’08!


Tina Ferraro
How to Hook a Hottie - Book Sense Top Teen Pick
Top Ten Uses for an Unworn Prom Dress - Finalist, National Reader’s Choice Award

Sunday, June 22, 2008


Summer seems to be the topic of the week here on the Buzz Blog, and I'm not about to derail that train. Although summer means blistering heat and sweltering humidity in my current hometown of Houston it still brings bright blue skies, the occasional thunderstorm, and the promise of a season of fun. Pull on some flip-flips. Turn up your speakers. Here are five great songs that will get you on your feet.

1. Summer Nights (Olivia Newton John and John Travolta)

2. Summer of 69 (Bryan Adams)

3. Boys of Summer (Don Henley)

4. Summer in the City (The Lovin' Spoonful)

5. Summertime Blues (Eddie Cochran)

Anyone else have a favorite summer playlist? Do share.

OH. MY. GODS. -- Dutton, available now!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Welcome Summer!

Today's the first official day of summer...whooohooo!!!

After sleeping in late, we're going to go out for lunch, do a little shopping, get something nummy for dinner, and then go sit by the pool and soak up the sunshine. I love this time of year when you can rejuvenate yourself in the sun and just...relax.

What are you doing today to celebrate summer?

Oh...and something else to celebrate...the winner of my contest last week! Drum roll....


And the crowd goes wild! Please send me your snail mail address via my e-mail at marley @ (no spaces.)

Have a great weekened everyone!

Marley = )

SORORITY 101: Zeta or Omega? - Available Now! Puffin Books
SORORITY 101: The New Sisters - Available Now! Puffin Books
GHOST HUNTRESS Series - Begins May 2009, Houghton Mifflin

Friday, June 20, 2008

My favorite ways to cool off...

I complained all winter that I would be SO ready for summer. But now that it's here, not so much. I thought it would be fun to talk about some of my favorite ways to cool off and hopefully you will share some of your secrets too!

I'm going to start off with how I WISH I could cool off. I used to watch Cribs on MTV but then it just got too dang depressing. It seemed like everyone had their own inground pool and waterfall. This is my goal someday.
You are all totally invited to my first pool party. :)
This is actually a more accurate portrayal of what we cool off in at the Hale household. Okay, so it won't get us on Cribs but it still does the trick on a sweltering day.
I'm also a huge fan of the spray bottle/fan combo. Why couldn't I think of this? It is truly brilliant. If I'm in the mood for a refreshing treat, my favorite is shaved ice. Preferably Blue Hawaiian flavored. This treat cools you down quick and is fat-free.
And if none of this works then we just have a good old-fashioned water balloon fight (which my five-year-old woke me up at 1:30am to remind me that I promised him we would do today!)

What are your favorite ways to cool down?



Monday, June 16, 2008


Question: What do Tony Hawk, Orlando Bloom, Ethan Hawke and Tina Ferraro all have in common?

Hint: It ain’t youth and good looks!

Answer: Thanks to Jennifer Rummel, the YA Librarian at Otis Library, we all have library posters, encouraging young people to read.

I don’t know about you, but I love seeing those celeb posters in my local library, so when Jennifer put out the call to create them for her MySpace author friends, I jumped to send her a recent picture of myself with my book. In fact, she’s been kind enough to offer to do the same for any interested Buzz Girls and Buzz Girl author if you fit this description, contact her at


So tell me, if you could propose any celebrity for a READ poster, who would it be? (I’d give an answer, but I think Steph already gave it for me in her Friday post.)

Instead of listing What I’m Reading this week, I’m substituting Favorite MySpace Comment from this week: “I luv yr books”. (And may I just say I luv readers who tell me they luv my books!)


Tina Ferraro
How to Hook a Hottie - Book Sense Top Teen Pick
Top Ten Uses for an Unworn Prom Dress - Finalist, National Reader’s Choice

Sunday, June 15, 2008

You Can Haz Funnay

It's been a rough few weeks in the Childs family (as in my immediate family, which is me and my mom and dad). My mom is home from a two-plus week stay in hospital and on a painfully slow road to recovery. So, because I've had enough seriousness in my real life, I though I'd share some total fun-ness in the blogosphere.

All these pictures come from I Can Has Cheezburger, one of the funniest photo blogs I've seen. (And, yes, the appalling grammar is part of the fun!) They have hundreds (thousands?) of hilariously captioned animal photos. Here are some of my favorites:





Hope these brought a smile to your face like they did mine.

OH. MY. GODS. -- Dutton, available now!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

My first official piece of fan mail!

This is what being a writer is all about...getting fan mail! And I got my very first piece of fan mail last week. It's from my boss' daughter who is nine years old. I gave him a copy of SORORITY 101: ZETA OR OMEGA? to give to her. According to him, she breezed through it in a couple of days and then sat down and wrote me this note.

~*~WARNING: This is the recipe for adorable, wrapped in cute, with a dollup of precious on top!~*~

See??? I told you!!! I can't tell you how many times I've read this letter. Or how many people I've shown it to. Or how many times I've teared up looking at it. I carry it around with me and will eventually frame it for my writing that when Caitlin Brooks is a famous author, I can say I knew her when.

I used to write fan mail when I was little...mostly to professional athletes. However, I did write a fan mail back in 1999 to a favorite author, Barbara Delinksy, asking her for advice about being a writer. She told me if I wanted to be a writer, I needed to just do it. Simple advice...but most appreciated. And two years later, I did "just do it," completing my first novel. I even thanked Ms. Delinsky in SORORITY 101.

Have you ever written fan mail? If so, to whom? Did you get a response?

For those of you who leave a comment on this thread, I'll enter you in a contest to win a copy of BOTH of the SORORITY 101 books.

Feel free to enter as many times as you'd like. Each comment will count as an entry.

Marley = )

SORORITY 101: Zeta or Omega? (Available Now! Puffin Books)
SORORITY 101: The New Sisters (Available Now! Puffin Books)
GHOST HUNTRESS SERIES (Coming May 2009, Houghton Mifflin)

Friday, June 13, 2008

Is Friday the 13th really unlucky?

Until five years ago I never considered myself a superstitious person. I didn't cringe if a black cat crossed my path. I could easily walk underneath a ladder. I even broke a couple of mirrors without losing any sleep.

But when I started to feel labor pains in the evening of Thursday, June 12th, 2003, I locked my thighs together tighter than Suzanne Somers on her Thighmaster. I was NOT giving birth to my first child on Friday the 13th. Images of Jason in his freaky ski mask filled my head as I writhed around on my couch in pain. My husband urged me to let him take me to the hospital. I muttered something, probably obscene, and he backed off. The pain would subside then return with a vengence. (I wish I could remember who told me childbirth is like having bad cramps so that I could smack them.)

My original due date was June 6, so the 13th had never been a concern. But as the days wore on I had done some research. It turns out that an estimated $800-900 million dollars is lost on this day because so many people just stay home. And when have you ever seen a 13th floor in a hotel or office building? A quote from the 1800's states that a child born on a Friday is doomed to misfortune.

In the end I didn't need to worry. I was in labor for 36 hours and didn't have my son until the 14th. I realized later how ridiculous I was being. I blame the pain. Besides, the Olsen twins were born on a Friday the 13th and look how UN-misfortunate they've been!

Are you superstitious? And will you be seeing The Happening this weekend? (Tina, I already know your answer!)


Tuesday, June 10, 2008

No, I'm not Betty Crocker...

I recently saw a story on the news about a mother who'd arranged to have chef friends cook her prom-going daughter and date's dinner. Maybe this particular story was a result of the crazy economy, but I think cooking (or having someone else cook) dinner on a date can be really fun.

A caveat -- it's way more fun if the date helps cook. One guy I dated helped me pound out the breasts for the Chicken Marsala. Another dude just criticized the way I seared my scallops -- guess which date was more fun?

Some of the best things to cook for someone else you can do ahead of time. Like a baked chicken dish that you marinate that morning and then when you get home from class or work that night, you can just bake it while you get ready for the date. Other things -- like salmon or steaks -- only take a little while to cook. So, as long as you have an appetizer ready to eat while everything is cooking, you're golden.

Eventually in the travels of my life, I cooked professionally, but I haven't always been a good cook. I learned a lot over the years. I remember in college cooking a batch of tofu spaghetti sauce (I was a vegetarian back then) for a date who politely ate the quivering white cubes punctuating the ragu. What a sweet guy he was because it was pretty yucky stuff. These days I'm way better at cooking healthy and I love tofu when it's done right.

The best tasting food has to be when the guy cooks for me, though. Recently I had some great grilled chicken tacos, and this creative guy actually made his own taco shells by frying tortillas fresh! Yum. Cute guy and good tacos -- is there any better combination?

So... has anyone else cooked for a date? What are some things you like to make? (And no fair saying anything involving refrigerator biscuits -- I'm so against the overuse of those in HS cooking classes.)


Heather (who is now leaving the laptop in search of French bread and yummilicious cheese.)

Heather Davis is the author of
Never Cry Werewolf
Coming in April 2009 from HarperTeen